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Remember “The Truman Show” (1998 movie with Jim Carrey)?

It was about a boy, Truman Burbank, who was raised on the set of a T.V. show. He lived in a 1950s utopia, but none of it was real. Everyone he interacted with – the people he thought were his parents, wife, children, friends, co-workers, and neighbors were all actors. Every relationship in his life was fake.

But Truman is not an actor. He was chosen before birth to be the one “real” person on this “unreality” show. Audiences around the world tune in to watch Truman 24×7, captivated by the idea of watching this unsuspecting person navigate a carefully constructed, fake world.

Truman thinks he lives in a small, island town call Seahaven. This “town” is actually a large set constructed inside a huge television studio. A newsreel in the movie tells us the studio is one of the few landmarks that can be seen from space.

The show’s producer, Christoph, a rather creepy character, uses psychological tactics to keep Truman from ever leaving Seahaven. Of course, he has convinced himself and others this is all for Truman’s good.

For example, when Truman is only eight-years old, in order to give Truman a fear of water (one of many travel-related fears the producer works into Truman’s life), Christoph scripts a “scene” in which Truman’s “father” takes Truman on a boating trip. A storm comes and the father “drowns.” Of course, the actor does not drown, but Truman does not know his father is an actor or that his life is a T.V. show. From his perspective he has lost his father and will never see him again.

As if that weren’t cruel enough, the events and dialogue leading up to the drowning were carefully orchestrated to leave Truman feeling his father’s death was his fault. This belief is subtly reinforced by other actors in the show who profess to care about Truman but are merely playing a part. For example, when he is thirty years old, we see him discuss his father’s death with his “mother,” who sweetly says, “but I never blamed you,” subtly reinforcing his belief that he is to blame.

When Truman is in his early thirties, “married” (his wife is an actor, playing a part, and even the events that led Truman to marry her were carefully manipulated by Christoph), “working as an insurance salesman” (his employer, coworkers, and customers are all actors; the work he believes is meaningful, has no meaning), and considering becoming a father, he begins to notice some inconsistencies in his life.

As he investigates these incongruities, he notices more things that don’t add up.

Then the dismissed actor who played his father years ago, sneaks onto the set, and Truman catches a glimpse of him before he is swept away by “police.” Everyone in Truman’s life immediately tries to convince him that he imagined it all. Despite their acting skills and carefully scripted lines, Truman is, for once, not buying it.

He continues his investigations in secret and, despite the best efforts of the cast and crew to keep him ignorant, piece-by-piece begins to realize that everything and everyone he has ever known is fake.

I can relate.

My husband lived a double life for a large portion, possibly all, of our marriage. At the very least, he kept major secrets, related to pornography and other women, from me throughout all of our courtship and marriage. He was actively involved with other women for at least the last four years of our marriage, possibly all.

When I discovered this, I had to go back and reconstruct my understanding of my life with him. It was like there had been a thick curtain ever-present in our marriage. But I never saw the curtain or what was on the other side. When the curtain was finally lifted, I went back through the events of my life with new eyes.

What I found was horrifying.

For every major decision we made in our married life, his input into that decision was completely motivated by his desire to continue his affairs in secret.

For every move, including deciding where we would serve on the mission field, his input into that decision was motivated by his desire to be close (but not too close) to his affair partners.

There were multiple decisions involving our children’s health and safety that he made (or pushed for us to make together) based entirely on his desire to spend more time with his affair partners.

The many times when I sought his input into my life, trusting him as a godly man who had vowed to care for me, his responses were not based on caring concern for me, as I trusted they were, but on his own desire to keep me “off track” from discovering the truth about him.

Looking back on some of the most emotionally intimate moments in our marriage, times when I felt he was opening his heart to me, I now realize he was feeding me carefully constructed lies to keep me from suspecting his double life.

Financial, employment, and ministry decisions – at least his part in them – were all made with the number one goal of continuing his secret without discovery.

Perhaps, most hurtful of all, he used my faith, and my love for Jesus, to manipulate me. He told convincing stories of spiritual events in his life, that I now realize were manufactured to keep me off track.

Throughout all this, there was the overarching lie that he was fulfilled in our marriage. Whenever I suspected something was wrong and tried to broach the subject so we could work through it, he was all smiles and gentleness and convinced me that all was well and he was completely satisfied.

Even the few “complaints” he had about me during our marriage, I now realize were not things that actually bothered him at all, rather he was manufacturing “arguments” to keep me off track from discovering the real issues.

The truth is, it did not matter to him whether our marriage was “fulfilling” or not – he was looking elsewhere for his fulfillment. Our marriage was only important for him as part of a façade to keep up a respectable and godly appearance for others. It did not matter too much to him what I did or didn’t do, so long as I was not “on to him.” (And as long as I made him look good, but that wasn’t an issue because it was usually the case – Proverbs 31 says that a good wife brings honor to her husband, and I was a good wife.) The only thing that mattered to him, at least for the last four years, was to keep me deceived.

When I tell people my story, most people think the most hurtful part was my husband’s sexual sin. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Others think the most hurtful part was the rejection – that he chose other women over me. That certainly was hurtful.

But the deception was so much more hurtful.

When I tell this to people who haven’t been through it, they think they understand, but they think I mean the obvious act of deception – that he was having affairs and he didn’t tell me.

Yet the deception was so much more than that. It was an overarching deception. My entire marriage for at least the last four years, and important parts of my marriage going all the way back to our courtship, was a deception on the scale of the Truman Show.

(I have more to say about this, but I think that’s enough for one post. I’ll do some follow-ups when I’m emotionally ready.)

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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Heart with earphones closeup on red background

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God, you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
Isaiah 43:2-4

In December 2016, I sat in front of the computer, my newborn cradled in my arms, staring at the evidence of betrayal by my husband/”best friend”/”Ministry Partner,” staring right back at me with it’s cold, unflinching truth.

I felt sick to my stomach.

“Oh Jesus, help me,” came the whispered words from my mouth.

The very next words that came to my mind were the words of a song I hadn’t heard in years. “If You Want Me To,” by Ginny Owens, helped carry me through the blur of the next few months. Whenever I sang those words to myself, it was with new resolve to take one more step, and put my trust in Jesus again and again, though my world had become a nightmare from which I kept hoping to wake up.

Though her song has spoken to many who are going through divorce and betrayal, Ginny wrote it about her struggle with God’s call on her life as a singer/songwriter, though she had lost her sight at three years old.

The lyrics seem to come straight out of James 1:2-4.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This is one of my “anchor passages.” I can’t say it’s one of my “favorite passages,” since it’s such a hard one. But, I have returned to it again and again in the hardest times of my life, daily, even minute-by-minute, choosing to obey, to press forward and choose joy, despite the circumstances. And in that way, not just the verse, but the habit built by obedience to it, has become an anchor, tethering me close to my faith in the hardest times.
Here is the song. The lyrics are below.
I hope it blesses you today.
If You Want Me To - Ginny Owens | With Lyrics - YouTube
Lyrics
The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to
‘Cause I’m not who I was
When I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will go through the fire
If You want me to
It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that’s not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone
So When the whole world turns against me
And I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to
Songwriters: Ginny Owens / Kyle David Matthews
If You Want Me To lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.
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Jesus is my only husband now. This is not some pretty cliché. It’s real.

He’s stood by me through all this mess and He’s right here with me now.

And now that it’s just him and me, I want to pursue my relationship with him more than ever before.

Here are some things Jesus has been showing me about what it means to be married to him …

Three Ways Being Married to Jesus is Different from Being Married to Any Other Man …

1. I have to learn to love myself. Jesus wants his bride to be well taken care of. He wants her to love herself. Jesus wants to lift his bride up and he wants her to receive that.

I thought I loved myself before, but God has shown me I still have some logs in my eye in that area. He’s helping me remove those, and teaching me to truly love and accept – and even celebrate – myself just the way I am. Because that’s the way he wants his bride treated.

2. I’m the one with intimacy anorexia. It’s typical for the wife to be the better communicator in the marriage. She’s usually better at understanding and sharing her own feelings, and she’s often better at listening to and understanding her partner.

We hear a lot about men with intimacy anorexia – which means he has trouble opening up and sharing his heart. Maybe he doesn’t know his own heart. He may have trouble listening to his wife share her feelings too.

Well, Jesus isn’t like that at all! In fact, compared to him, I’m the one with intimacy anorexia! He wants me to talk to him all the time. He wants me to look deep into his eyes and tell him all that’s on my heart – even though he already knows!

He calls to me all day long to open up to him – to stop what I’m doing for just one moment – or even to talk to him while I’m doing whatever it is.

But what is my first instinct when I hear that call? Usually, I suddenly remember something else I’m supposed to be doing – or if I don’t have that excuse, it’s to call a friend to talk about it, get a snack, google that thought, or talk to myself about it. I’m not consciously trying to avoid intimacy with the one who made me, but yet, that’s what I’m doing.

Or I think to myself “I should really pray about that,” and imagine that I will have a long talk with Jesus about it at some other, more perfect, time and location. Kind of like the man who says, “Yeah, we’ll talk about that honey, just not right now. We’ll talk about it when we have time to sit down and really discuss it.” But the perfect time never comes.

I’ve been in a marriage with a man who hid his heart from me.

But now that Jesus is my only husband, suddenly I’m the one with the intimacy problem. I’m the one being challenged to open up more …

… And to listen more.

Jesus wants to share his heart with me too. He wants to tell me deep and unsearchable things I do not know. But I need to call him first (Jeremiah 33:3). Just like calling an earthly partner to see what’s on their mind and heart, except instead of picking up my phone, I need to open my Bible. And then I need to be ready to listen.

3. He never lies. He never cheats. He never abuses.

And One Way Being Married to Jesus is the Same as Being Married to Any Other Man …

1. It’s Real. Jesus really is my husband. It’s not just some platitude. My relationship with him is as real as any human relationship I’ve ever had. In fact, more real – see #3 above.

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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Divorced. That’s what I will soon be.

I have been separated for more than two years now. I was willing to stay separated for as long as it took – until I either saw the true fruit of repentance and truly believed I could trust my husband again, or until I knew he was still cheating on me. Sadly, it turned out to be the latter.

I’m so thankful for the way God brought out the truth. It’s a story too long for this post, but God showed His faithfulness throughout the process, and He taught me so much. I am coming out of this mess stronger in my faith, and more confident in my ability to hear God.

God has never abandoned me. Though there was a time when it felt everything else in my world was falling apart, Jesus was always there. He has been walking with me step-by-step through it all.

This is not the ending I ever envisioned to my marriage. But the man I married has free will, and this is the outcome of his choices.

As I move forward with the divorce, I am beginning to taste a spiritual freedom. I have been yoked to someone who has not been following God, and who has been actively hurting me and deceiving me. As that yoke is being untied, a burden is being lifted from me.

With this burden being lifted, I feel a new freedom to write.

I want to use what I’ve been through to help others. I know that God has called me to write, and I want to be obedient to that.

—————————————————————————————————

Also, I’ve decided to write under a pen name.

This will give me freedom to share personal details of my story that I believe will be helpful to others, without bringing more hurt or embarrassment to my children.

It will also enable me to write about my missionary work, without endangering my ministry partners.

I’m not adopting a pen name to hide who I am, but to enable me to share more of who I am.

The name I’ve chosen is symbolic of this new stage in my life.

It is Rebecca Nazzer.

I wanted to choose a name that means “Married Woman.”

Why would someone who is getting divorced choose a name that means “Married Woman?”

Because, as my marriage has unravelled, Jesus has made the truth that He is my husband more real to me than ever before. This is more than a pretty allegory to me, it is my real life.

Rebecca means “Yoked Together.” It is the closest name I found to my desired meaning (that I liked). I am yoked to Jesus! He is my faithful husband!

Nazzer is a variation of a name that means “Nazarene” or “One from Nazareth.” It seems fitting that since Jesus is my husband, I should take His surname.

My new marital status is not “Divorced.”

It is “Married to Jesus.”

Is there an option on facebook for that? There should be!

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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I’ve been separated from the man I married for a little over a year now.

I still see him regularly. Sometimes just briefly to hand off the kids or discuss some logistics. Other times it’s longer – a school event or birthday party.

Every time I see him, it’s like ripping a band-aid off my wound.

Ripping it on and off. On and off.

You see, he is two people to me.

There is the sincere, Christian man I thought I knew. The image he still presents to the world.

And then there is the double life that was exposed – the truth. The photos I have seen of him with other women run through my mind. I am thankful for those photos because they put an image to the truth.

I am still grieving the loss of that first person.  And of the family unit we once had.

Little by little, my wounds begin to heal. A tender scab begins to form.

And then I see him again. He looks and acts like that person I knew. Part of my brain tells me he is that person. When others are around, he presents himself as that person and that is how they see him. Sometimes, acquaintances don’t realize we aren’t together and they interact with us as if we were a couple. All the signals coming into my brain are saying – that person is back! Our family is back! Our life is back! Maybe it never even happened! Maybe it was all a bad dream!

It is like seeing the person I am grieving standing right in front of me. The dead come back to life! What joy! Could it be?? Could he be back? Could we be a family again?

Part of my brain cannot help but take in the illusion. After all, my senses are confirming it. I see, hear, and even smell it before me – what I’m grieving has returned to me!

I don’t need this band-aid anymore!

But yet, I know he is not that person. I know too much to believe that now. Too, too much.

I remind myself of the facts. The truth. It is a harsh truth and it stings my now open wound.

I put the band-aid back on. And the scab that was ripped off with it. And let that open wound start to heal again.

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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“You know, everyone carries around secrets like this,” the Christian Counselor enlightened me … “And, you know, pretty much all men do this.”

“Jesus didn’t.”

She actually brightened, “Oh, but Paul [The Apostle] did!”

“What??!!”

“Yes, don’t you know, Paul was probably a sex addict.”

“What??!!”

“Yes, he said he had a thorn in his side. That probably means he was a sex addict.”

“You can’t draw such a wild conclusion from that one vague statement. The thorn in his side could have been anything.”

Now she smiled knowingly, “Sure, but you never know, it could have been that he was a sex addict.”

Well, at this point she got an earful from me.

You see, Paul said more than once that all believers should imitate him (1 Cor. 11:1;1 Cor 4:13). When he said this, he was writing scripture – so this is part of the Word of God. We know that God does not tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13), so to say that Paul was living as a sex addict while telling all Christians to follow him, is to malign God’s Word.

Paul also said, in scripture, that his way of life agrees with everything he teaches (1 Cor. 4:14). Paul taught extensively against all forms of sexual immorality. So, if you believe that all scripture is the inspired Word of God, you cannot also believe that Paul was a sex addict.

Further, there is absolutely no evidence, or even conjure, from any reliable source, whether Biblical or historical, that even suggests that Paul engaged in any hint of sexual immorality. Not even unbelievers have made this accusation.

Yet, so far in my recovery, I have been told this lie by two people who are in the counseling profession, both claiming to be Christians.

And both used the lie as another way to tell me, “What happened to you is no big deal. Everyone does it. Get with the program and cover it up.”

And her response after I explained all this to her?

“Well, I can’t argue with you about the Bible.”

So, I can only conclude that she still plans to try to pull this one over on other hurting, Christian women in their most vulnerable moment.

Have you heard this lie or others like it from someone trying to ‘help’ you in your recovery? Or has someone told you something about the Bible that you are not sure is true?

Please share in the comments. Let’s expose the lies and let the truth shine!

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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“I’m feeling a lot of shame.” I was sitting in the office of a Christian counselor, in the aftermath of discovering my husband’s adultery. She had asked me to describe my feelings.

“You mean humiliation?”

“No, I mean shame.” I wondered if the counselor knew the meaning of shame, but I didn’t want to offend her, “I’m sure you know what shame is, but just so you know that I know what it is, shame is when you feel guilty even though you didn’t do anything wrong. It often happens when you are closely associated with someone else’s guilt.”

She smiled. “Weeelllll … one way to make the shame go away …,” – dramatic pause and pointed look – “would be to not separate from him … and not tell anyone what he did.”

Um, no.

Sadly, that counselor’s advice was the opposite of the truth. Shame, like most cold-blooded reptiles, thrives in dark, cold, slimy places – secret places. Turn on the light and shame will slither away.

Shame is a lie that comes from the Father of Lies. Satan always speaks through lies and shame is one of his microphones. When we keep the cause of the shame a secret, it’s like keeping a Bluetooth headset in our hearts – with Satan speaking through the other end of the line.

But as soon as we bring the secret into the light – whether it’s our own sin or what has been done to us – healing can begin.

Secrets destroy the secret keeper.

And enable the perpetrator.

The secret keeper protects her perpetrator from consequences, enabling him to continue in his sin. At the same time, the secret keeper is kept in a prison, where shame eats away at her heart.

A truly repentant perpetrator would want to bring his sin into the light – you can’t have repentance without confession.

——————————————————————————————————–

Sadly, that Christian counselor is not alone in her beliefs and tactics. When an adultery victim tells her story, “Let’s cover this up,” is the unfortunate first response of many – Pastors, Counselors, and well-meaning friends alike.

Sneak Preview of Future Post:
Trying to convince the adultery victim to stay married – whatever the cost to their soul – is also all too common.

We need to promote a Christian culture that provides a safe place for adultery victims to bring their pain into the light.

p.s. – I am using the pronouns “he” and “she” as they apply in my story. Women can also be adulterers/abusers and men can also be victims or secret keepers.

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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In this series, I want to share some truths I’ve learned from scripture about how to make decisions as a follower of Christ. God showed me most of these truths a couple years before I moved to India when I was going through a difficult time. At the time, I was struggling with indecision and uncertainty – which is really a type of bondage. And like most forms of bondage, I didn’t even realize how much it was affecting me. But I turned to God’s Word for help, and He showed me many truths. These truths have given me freedom from that bondage and have helped me move forward in confident action.

Truth #1: God is more interested in giving you wisdom, than in giving you the answers.

For most of my life, most of my prayer life was dominated by questions that started with “God, what should I do … ?” Whether it was, “what should I do … with my life, … about who to date, … about this circumstance or that, … this person or that,” I begged God to give me the answers.

While meditating on the Book of James, God really brought this scripture home to me:

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. 7 For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8, WEB)

Like any good parent, God would rather teach us how to find the answers for ourselves than to just hand them to us. When it comes to life decisions, that means He would rather give us the wisdom to find the answers than to tell us what to do.

In fact, he promises to give wisdom to anyone who asks. He is just waiting for us to ask. The only requirement is that once He gives us wisdom, we need to have the faith to act on it. That is hard. But that is what faith is: we continually seek him and ask for wisdom, while stepping out in faith with the wisdom he has given us so far. And that’s where this verse comes in:

21 and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21, WEB)

I can’t tell you how many times I heard this verse, and almost subconsciously thought, “That must be some nuance of translation, surely it must mean, “BEFORE you turn to the right or the left you will hear a voice AHEAD of you, saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’”

But, nope, it’s not a nuance of translation. The verse says you will hear the voice AFTER you make the turn and the voice will come from BEHIND. In other words, you don’t get the full roadmap before you take the first step. And most of the time, God doesn’t even tell you what next step to take – He wants you to use the wisdom He has given you to make the best choice you can, and then to step out in faith by doing it. The promise is that after you start seeking His wisdom and acting on it as best you can, He will confirm or correct your path along the way if necessary. That’s faith.

These simple truths are repeated throughout scripture. Solomon didn’t ask for specific instructions so that he would never have to take responsibility for a decision again. No, he asked for wisdom to make the decisions. And God was pleased.

It’s not a coincidence that this section of James follows right on the heels of these verses:

2 My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. (James 1:2-4, NET)

 

Like any good parent, God wants to help his children grow to maturity. He doesn’t do that by overprotecting us. He doesn’t do it by telling us exactly what to do at every turn. Instead, He matures us as we persevere through trials and seek His wisdom along the way – and as we act on that wisdom as best we can – even if it means making a mistake. That’s how we learn and grow. That’s how we become mature and complete, which is God’s plan and desire for all of us.

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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I’ve been putting off writing about this for awhile because it is such a vast topic and God has given me so much to say on it, that it’s overwhelming to try to find the time to get it all down – much less organize all the ideas in the most coherent way.

So, I’ve just decided to start getting it out there in bits and pieces – short posts and sometimes long posts. I have no idea how many posts will be in this series.

So, today, I’m going to start by sharing one of the Bible passages God used to speak to me when I was making the difficult decision to separate from my husband (I did separate from him).

Joseph – A Righteous Man

And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. (Matt. 1:19, NASB)

God brought this verse front-and-center to my mind when I was grappling with the question of whether to separate. I mean, it was like it came to my mind in neon lights with a bullhorn – that’s the best way I can describe it. And with it, also came a sudden moment of clarity:

I have heard it preached that Joseph’s decision to divorce Mary (when he thought she had been unfaithful to him) was not a righteous decision and was not the result of Joseph being a righteous man. Rather (it is preached), his decision to divorce her was the result of either his hard-heartedness or a spiritual blind spot created by his cultural upbringing, or both, but his decision to do so quietly (and only that part of the decision) was indicative of his righteousness.

But when God brought that passage to my mind, I also saw with sudden clarity the power of scripture to affirm itself in its simplicity. Joseph was a righteous man. The scripture says it. It does not say that he was, on the one hand, hard-hearted and blinded by his culture, but, on the other hand, righteous. No, it says he was righteous, plain and simple. The plain meaning of righteous is “good.” He was a good man.

It also says that his decision to divorce her quietly came out of him being a righteous man (and therefore was a righteous decision). It did not say that one part of the decision was sinful (which anything that came out of hard-heartedness would be) and that the other part was righteous. No, it says that he made the decision (the entire decision) because he was a righteous man.

The fact that he did not want to disgrace her also came out of this righteousness.1 The entire decision came out of his righteousness.

The whole of scripture testifies that a righteous person is not divided.

A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water. (James 3:11-12).

So Joseph was a righteous man. And when he thought his spouse had been unfaithful to him, he made a righteous decision with the information he had. And that righteous decision was to divorce.

A Good Parent Too

Another thing that is important about this passage, it that Joseph is the man God chose to parent Jesus. When I first told people that I felt God was calling me to separate from my husband, I was met with many objections and accusations. The most common of which was, “But what about your children? Don’t you care about your children?”

Just like Joseph, I was accused of being hard-hearted. One person even accused me of not loving my children, which, if you know me at all, is so ludicrous that there is no doubt it came directly from Satan.

The “helpful suggestions” of things I should do “for the sake of the children,” ranged from deceitful: “Consider an in-house separation” (thereby deceiving my children into thinking their parents are in a marital relationship when in fact they are separted, not to mention giving them an incredibly unhealthy view of marriage)2 to contradictory: “Accept that he’s going to cheat again but stay with him anyway,” and (from the same person), “Stay with him, but this time keep him under your thumb so he doesn’t cheat again.” All completely unbiblical and all “for the sake of the children.”

But because I am not hard-hearted and I do love my children, it was the question of what was best for my children that gave me the most pause. God spoke to me about this in many ways – and one of those ways was to show me that the man whom HE chose to parent HIS child was faced with the same decision as I was (with the information he had at the time), and he chose to divorce because he was a righteous man.

God didn’t choose a hard-hearted person to parent Jesus. He probably chose Joseph for similar reasons as he chose Mary. What scripture emphasizes most about Mary was her willingness to yield to God’s will (Lk 1:38). This is the opposite of hard-heartedness and we see this in Joseph’s life too – both times in scripture when God spoke to Joseph, he responded immediately, without hesitation, and with complete obedience, even at great risk to himself – and he never looked back (Matt. 1:20-25; Matt. 2:13-16). That doesn’t sound like a hard-hearted person to me. It sounds like a person willing to bend his will to God, even when he doesn’t understand it.

So Joseph was another “friend” who had walked this walk before me and who spoke to me through the centuries and through the Word of God. The fact that he was Jesus’s earthly father makes his legacy so much more real to me. As I prayed over this verse, I could almost feel Jesus putting his arm around me and saying “Hey, my dad (step-dad) went through this too. I was raised by a parent who was willing to make the same choice I’m leading you to make. You are on the right track and it’s going to be ok for your kids.”

 Footnotes

1. Some have said that his desire not to disgrace her was in conflict with his “righteousness” and he came up with the decision to do so quietly as sort of a compromise. But there are several problems with this interpretation.

First, the scripture says he was righteous AND he did not want to disgrace her – the two go hand-in-hand. There is no conflict implied between the two. Had there been a conflict, another word like “but” would have been used instead of “and.”

Another problem with this interpretation is that it would require his righteousness to be interpreted as a false righteousness, like that of the Pharisees, because not wanting to shame her would not be in conflict with true righteousness.

The latest version of the NIV actually incorporates this interpretation into their translation. In order to do so, they translated righteous as “faithful to the law”. They also implied a conflict between his righteousness and his desire not to disgrace her by changing “and” to “and yet.” The word “yet” is not present in the Greek and inserting it completely changes the meaning, as “and” indicates two things that go together but “and yet,” indicates two things that are conflicting.

But the Greek word used for righteous here is the same word used to describe Jesus’s righteousness. Thre is no indication that it refers to a false righteousness or merely an obedience to the law. Nor is there any indication in scripture that Joseph was a man of false righteousness – he is always depicted in scripture as a good (the straightforward meaning of righteous) man. It also seems doubtful that God would choose a pharisaical person to parent HIS son – especially without offering any explanation as to the choice in scripture.

The NIV had to change the text in two places in order to make their interpretation work (they do include a footnote indicating these changes). That doesn’t bode well for this interpretation. The NASB translation of this verse, which I quoted above, is a straightforward English translation of the Greek.

(Incidentally, I have found other verses in which the NIV is closer to the Greek than the NASB. I am not a proponent of one Bible version over another. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and they all can add something to our understanding.)

2. An in-house separation might be the right choice in some circumstances, but in my case, it would have been deceitful because God was leading me to truly separate from my husband and the people who were advising an in-house separation were doing so purely for the sake of hiding the separation from the children.

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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I received a variety of responses when I first told people about my husband’s affairs – from comforting to downright hurtful. But one of the most helpful and insightful comments came from a wise woman who, after I told her my story, immediately asked, “How’s your faith?”

You see, this is war. Spiritual war. Satan would do anything to take away my faith – and if he can’t do that, he’ll settle for weakening it, dampening it, or at least getting me to stop telling people about it.

My honest answer to her at that time was, “My faith is strong.” In fact, I told her very candidly, “I can’t afford to question my faith right now because my faith is all I have left.” And I’ve written about how, as I clung to Jesus in that time, He revealed Himself to me more than ever before.

But make no mistake, Satan wants to use this to attack my faith. Recently, I wrote about a lingering question that was growing into a stumbling block for my faith: “Why didn’t God tell me my husband was cheating?” I also wrote about the answer God gave me to help me move past that question.

So, I thought this particular attack was behind me, but the other day, Satan tried to get me with this one again. I was lying in bed in the morning, thinking about a problem I was having – a relatively minor problem compared to some of the stuff I’m tackling on this blog. I found myself thinking, “Who could I talk to about this?,” and I started going through a list of friends in my mind. Then, I thought “Jesus, of course. He is always the right person to talk to.”

This has been a positive thought pattern in my life for many years. When I find myself thinking “Who can I talk to about this?,” I remind myself that Jesus has all the answers, and this has always spurred me on to begin talking to Him immediately.

But not this time. This time a nasty and unexpected thought came into my mind, “But I talked to Jesus all the time while my husband was cheating on me and look what a load of good that did.”

Woah. I knew this was not the place I wanted to be. I did not want to begrudge God for what happened, but in all honesty, this is where I was. I tried to remind myself of the things I had written about in part 1 of this series, but it didn’t help. This is where I was. That single thought had effectively zapped my desire to pray.

But I knew I “wanted to want” to pray. So, I asked God to take away this stumbling block again and give me back a sincere desire to want to talk to Him. That was all I could manage to pray that morning.

But that night, God answered my prayer. I went to a class I’m taking on spiritual warfare and the teacher said something that hit home. She said that if you spend a lot of time talking to God, you’re going to become more like Him.

Yes, of course, that was just the reminder I needed. The purpose of talking to God is to allow Him to shape me into His image. He never promised to give me all the answers – nowhere did He ever say that is what prayer is about.

He does promise to give wisdom to all who ask for it (James 1:5-7). And He certainly is giving me wisdom – more than I bargained for when it comes to sex addiction, lying, etc. What a babe in the woods I was just a few years ago. And this growth in wisdom is part of the (uncomfortable) process of becoming the person He designed me to be.

But He never promised to reveal to us the secret lives of other people – just like He doesn’t promise to tell us the inner workings of the stock market or of governments or anything else. There is a spiritual gift of Knowledge and sometimes believers are given a Word of Knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8), but not everyone will have all the gifts (1 Cor. 12:27-31), and, of course, no one but God has all knowledge.

So, what does He promise will happen if we seek Him with all our hearts (which starts with simply talking to Him)? He will reveal Himself to us (Jer. 29:13). He will show us the truth about our own hearts (2 Cor. 3:15-16). He will make us more like Him (2 Cor. 3:18). He will give us wisdom (James 1:5-7). And He will lead us, as we step out in faith (Is. 30:21). I know that He has been faithful to me in all these promises.

And, of course, God did eventually reveal my husband’s infidelity to me. What was done in darkness did come to light. And when I look back on the process of how that happened, I definitely see miraculous intervention and answers to my prayers, and I also see how He led me to a good counselor who led me to take practical steps to find out the truth. In other words, even in the process of bringing this to light, He was increasing both my faith and my wisdom.

And in the healing and recovery process, He is daily increasing my faith and growing me in wisdom.

And through this uncomfortable process, He is preparing me to help others. He is making me more compassionate – more of a person He can use. And He is giving me wisdom that I can pass on to others. And He is teaching me about the discipline of writing that I can use to pass on that wisdom. And He’s put in my heart a desire to learn something of the skill of counseling others. But if He had just given me a single, one-time revelation of my husband’s secret life, none of these things would have been brought about.

So, that’s the way He rolls.

And I know, and I trust, and I have tasted and seen that all His ways are good.

And I want to talk to him again.

Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.

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